And over time my dreams have become narrow, my heart small, because all of this striving is too much. And no matter how clean the house may get on Saturday, on Sunday it's dirty again. No matter how much quality time I spend with my kids, or friends, or husband... they eventually let me down and eventually need more of me, maybe more than I have to give. And being defined by the things I DO eventually turns into being defined by the things I can't do, the ways I failed.
Jesus made a better way. He made a way for me to be good, without my doing. A way for me to be whole, alive, renewed, redeemed, apart from my doing. He died so I don't have to be burdened by my failure. He died so I don't have to be punished for the things I do wrong every day. He died so I don't have to beat myself up over all of the ways I fall short.
"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death." Romans 8:1-2 (emphasis mine)
This free way of living is so foreign to me still; I barely know what it looks like. Now I see through a dim mirror, but someday I will see and experience that freedom fully.
I do know this -- belonging to Christ, living by the Spirit, looks like life and peace.
"So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace." Romans 8:6
It looks like giving up control.
"But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)" Romans 8:9
It looks like resurrection.
"The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you." Romans 8:11
It looks like belonging to a perfect Father, who guides and provides and cares for me.
"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God." Romans 8:14
|Flickr: Kristin Schmit|
So I'm giving in. I'm refusing to be led by my old self, to be led by the pressures of this world. I'm opening up to life in the wide open spaces, twirling with my arms spread, my heart ready to be moved by Him alone.
Is there an image that represents freedom to you? Are you living in the wide open spaces, or feeling the pressure? xoxo